You know a phenomenon has gone mainstream when it's written up in Vanity Fair, the coffee-table bible of trends and tastes from high to low. And so it goes with "sissy rap," which was the subject of an award-winning Gambit cover story by Alison Fensterstock in 2008 -- and is now immortalized in VF under the headline "New Orleans Sissy Bounce: Rap Goes Drag." The article, by Brett Berk, begins:
You do not need to spend much time in New Orleans to realize that it occupies a unique position within the pantheon of American cities. As different from similar-sized towns like Pittsburgh as a coyote is from a mound of cottage cheese, the Big Easy is wholly its own scrappy, disheveled self (and I mean that as a compliment).
Berk goes on to profile the biggest New Orleans sissy rappers, including Katey Red (who tells him "Its not sissy bounce. It's Bounce music. Its just sissies doing it"), Sissy Nobby, Big Freedia and Vockah Redu.
Whatever you (or Katey) want to call it, this seems to be the season of the sissy. Vockah is also on the cover of this month's Antigravity magazine, and a clutch of New Orleans rappers (sissy and otherwise) will be appearing at the New Orleans Bounce Showcase at South by Southwest Mar. 20. Then, on April 22, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art will present Where They At: New Orleans Bounce and Hip-Hop in Words and Pictures, an exhibit curated by Fensterstock and Aubrey Edwards, which will go on for most of the summer and have a satellite exhibition at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
In the meantime, don't miss the Vanity Fair story, which reveals something truly interesting: Katey Red is starting her own marching band, which we hope is rehearsed and ready for next Mardi Gras.